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“He doesn't know about it.”
“It's supposed to be a very popular park.”
“Da, da, Stolby Park!” the driver says.
“Yes.” We may be getting somewhere.
Lots more animated discussion in Russian in the front seat.
Rose is smiling, not having experienced the joy of Russian chaos for a while.
“David, he says maybe it's closed. Maybe you'd like to see the hydroelectric dam in-
stead. It's very interesting.”
“Okay, tell him we appreciate his advice. We'll think about it.”
He drops us at a hotel, where we leave our belongings and inquire at the front desk about
Stolby Park. She says of course, any cab driver will know how to take you there. You can
take the “air vehicle” (which I interpret as a gondola) or walk seven kilometers, no prob-
Great. We find a taxi.
Sergei asks the driver—another Sergei—if he can take us to the gondola.
There's a lot of discussion.
“You missed this, right, Rose?”
“David,” Sergei says. “Sergei says it's not quite a gondola, it's more of a lift?”
“Like a ski lift?”
With no ski equipment handy, and not enthusiastic about walking seven kilometers in
the cold, Rose hatches an idea. “Could we ask Sergei if he could drive us as close to Stolby
as possible, so we can have a look?”
Sergei asks Sergei.
“He says he thinks you might like to drive to see the hydroelectric dam instead.”
Oh, man.
“Could we stop at Stolby first on the way to the dam?”
This seems like a plan, and Sergei pulls out of the hotel parking lot, drives maybe ten
minutes, and pulls over. He rolls down a window and calls over to a police officer. They
begin speaking, and Sergei gives us a play-by-play of the conversation.
“He's asking if the road to Stolby is open. . . . No, nope. 'Remont,' it's under construc-
Sergei the driver rolls up his window. “Okay, plan” he says, then unloads a mouthful in
Russian to Sergei.
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